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Titans ownership turmoil is looming

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 18:  A fan of the Detroit Lions watches action during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field on September 18, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Titans defeated the Lions 16-15.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s been quiet for months, but the Titans’ ownership situation could soon become a very loud problem for the league and the team.

In the aftermath of a report from Jason La Canfora of CBS that the Titans previously were slapped with a six-figure fine due to non-compliance with NFL ownership rules, a league source tells PFT that the situation could soon be heading toward critical mass.

The problem is simple. When team founder Bud Adams bequeathed the franchise in equal measure to three different branches of his family tree, he failed to give any one of them control over the franchise. As a result, no one has it, in violation of league rules.

While Amy Adams Strunk has been acting as the primary owner, she doesn’t have the kind of irrevocable final say that the league wants. Her family members, Susie Adams Smith (who owns another 33 percent) and Kenneth Adams IV, his mother Susan Lewis, and his brother Barclay Cunningham Adams (who each own 11 percent), have yet to give Strunk the authority she needs to resolve the situation, in part because there’s a belief that Kenneth Adams IV aspires to eventually run the team.

As the source explains it, Susie Adams Smith and her husband, Tommy Smith, are willing to sell their interest to Strunk at a fair value. Strunk, however, either isn’t able or inclined to buy. Kenneth Adams IV and his immediate family members also are willing to sell in order to solve the problem.

They may have to simply sell it all. Alternatively, the two non-Strunk branches could come together and sell a total of two thirds of the team to someone who would take over control of it.

The Titans have insisted that the team isn’t and won’t be for sale. At some point, however, they may have no choice — unless the Titans decide to fight the league in court over the question of whether the ownership rules violate federal antitrust laws.

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46 Responses to “Titans ownership turmoil is looming”
  1. thingamajig says: Sep 19, 2016 12:11 PM

    Is Al Davis’ old lawyer available?

  2. bos4ny3 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:17 PM

    Rich peoples’ problems.

  3. therealraider says: Sep 19, 2016 12:18 PM

    MLB can force Frank McCourt out, the NBA can force out Donald Sterling.. yet the NFL is stuck with Amy Strunk.. seems some bylaws need to be updated.

  4. tonyzendejas says: Sep 19, 2016 12:18 PM

    I have $18. I’ll take it.

  5. kane337 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:18 PM

    Rich people problems. Wish I had the dough to buy a team.

  6. nsm70 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:19 PM

    Uh oh, I see a sale and a move! StL is still mad and wants a team. Has the dome and training facility ready to go. Plus a stadium plan with tax payer financing in place. StL is a bigger market than Nashville. I said the Rams would move to LA when Frontiere passed away. I called it almost exactly how it went. Use facts to connect the dots. Titans will be sold and moved.

  7. In Teddy We Trust says: Sep 19, 2016 12:20 PM

    I’d give control to Amy Adams. I loved her in Enchanted.

  8. jag1959 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:20 PM

    Owning an NFL team is a license to print money, seems strange that Strunk can’t or won’t pony up the cash to get this fixed. This story gets trotted out every so often but no amount of searching ever yields any real details.

  9. Kelly's Chronicles says: Sep 19, 2016 12:22 PM

    Considering how this family has run the franchise into the ground the NFL should force a sale

  10. darthobama says: Sep 19, 2016 12:24 PM

    They should sell that dumpster fire to the bum who told the browns owner to pick mandrel. They would prolly improve their standings…

  11. whiteybulgersson says: Sep 19, 2016 12:27 PM

    Give control to Big Jon Robinson.

  12. ducknichols50 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:27 PM

    We need new NFL cities……what about Richmond, Portland, Juneau, Cheyenne, Morgantown, or Bismarck?

  13. iamkillerfin says: Sep 19, 2016 12:27 PM

    Don’t let Stephen Ross buy the team you’ll be in the cellar for at least 10 years!!!

  14. bluez32 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:30 PM

    A month after the league approved Haslam to buy my beloved Browns the Feds raided his place .

    Rich azzhats do what they want . they have a different set of rules .

  15. granadafan says: Sep 19, 2016 12:32 PM

    “therealraider says:
    Sep 19, 2016 12:18 PM
    MLB can force Frank McCourt out, the NBA can force out Donald Sterling.. yet the NFL is stuck with Amy Strunk.. seems some bylaws need to be updated.”
    ============================================

    There are many other old incompetent/ criminal owners that need to go first: Haslam, the Yorks, Snyder, Spanos, Irsay, etc.

  16. thad425 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:34 PM

    Considering how this family has run the franchise into the ground the NFL should force a sale

    ==================

    Bud Adams ran it into the ground, starting with his order to draft Vince Young.

    Since Amy Adams Strunk took over last year they have actually started turning things around (firing Wiz, replacing Ruston Webster at GM, stadium upgrades, buying a home in the Nashville area).

    The NFL really needs to get over themselves in this department, several owners have come out and said that the Titans ownership is not a problem.

  17. dsigrey says: Sep 19, 2016 12:35 PM

    All part of the leagues plan to Give the white knight Payton Manning his own team…

  18. lunar2013 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:40 PM

    Rich peoples’ problems.
    ———————————–

    I think part of the issue is that the team was given to family members that weren’t rich at all. They don’t want to give up their stake, but they can’t afford to buy the other stakes in the team either. They really need someone outside the family to buy into the team to clear that stuff up, but they don’t want to sell outside the family. This is a good part of the issue aside from having a majority owner.

  19. purpleguy says: Sep 19, 2016 12:40 PM

    I bet no one living in a rambler in the burbs has named their kid Barclay Cunningham Adams. Ever.

  20. jimbo75025 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:47 PM

    nsm70 says:
    Sep 19, 2016 12:19 PM
    Titans will be sold and moved.

    ——–

    Sold-yes

    Moved-no

    When the Rams moved to St Louis, they were given a sweetheart deal of epic proportions. When Bud Adams moved the Oilers, he was not given nearly as many perks and out clauses.

    Add in that St Louis and the surrounding area is struggling. Sure they have voted funds for a new stadium and all, and everyone not in LA hated to see the Rams leave but face it the well is poison for a decade or so at least when it comes to the NFL.

    Nashville is in much better shape. The number of auto plants and other associated businesses around Nashville gives the Titans a good bench of corporate partners. Add in the whole entertainment factor as while country music is not my thing, it is huge and a team in Nashville gives the league access to those singers, etc which can be used to appeal to that demographic.

  21. xavier179 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:49 PM

    Well what is stopping the two branches from selling their parts? Seems one of them could at least sell 2% of their share to give her control of the team.
    You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives.

  22. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:50 PM

    The league should not allow teams to be “bequeathed” to the owner’s children.

    Almost none of the franchises being run by offspring of the original owners is even vaguely competitive most of the time.

    These people have zero concern with winning a Super Bowl, only in keeping the money machine rolling. The league would be better off forcing the sales to new blood and the offspring get rich for as long as they and the next 10 generations of their family is around, as long as they don’t foolishly blow the money.

  23. sopadegato says: Sep 19, 2016 12:50 PM

    Sell the team, move them back to Houston, and revive the Oilers.

  24. waynefontesismyfather says: Sep 19, 2016 12:57 PM

    nsm70 says:
    …Uh oh, I see a sale and a move! StL is still mad and wants a team…

    This isn’t baseball, there is no “three-strikes and your out” policy. They aren’t going to get another franchise after being a dumpster fire for so long. The only thing St. Louis gets is the airplanes that fly over jettisoning the lavatory waste onto their city.

  25. mogogo1 says: Sep 19, 2016 12:58 PM

    “As the source explains it, Susie Adams Smith and her husband, Tommy Smith, are willing to sell their interest to Strunk at a fair value. Strunk, however, either isn’t able or inclined to buy. Kenneth Adams IV and his immediate family members also are willing to sell in order to solve the problem.”
    ____________

    Nobody should need to sell all their shares. The NFL used to require 51% ownership but that was changed long ago. All that should be needed is to break the tie, meaning only a percentage or two worth of shares would need to be added to one party (or subtracted from the other two). And the sale wouldn’t have to be within the family–there shouldn’t be any shortage of rich people who’d love to say they owned even a small part of an NFL team.

  26. carloswlassiter says: Sep 19, 2016 1:12 PM

    I fully expect Goodell and his minions to handle this situation with their usual discretion and intelligence.

  27. mmack66 says: Sep 19, 2016 1:16 PM

    thad425 says:
    Sep 19, 2016 12:34 PM

    The NFL really needs to get over themselves in this department, several owners have come out and said that the Titans ownership is not a problem.
    —————————–

    The owners are the NFL, so someone must be upset.

  28. absolutevisuals says: Sep 19, 2016 1:26 PM

    Their last consistent winning seasons was with Vince Young so that wasn’t the problem.

  29. sopadegato says: Sep 19, 2016 1:27 PM

    waynefontesismyfather says:
    This isn’t baseball, there is no “three-strikes and your out” policy. They aren’t going to get another franchise after being a dumpster fire for so long.

    —————————–

    LA did, after running off team after team after team.

  30. realfootballfan says: Sep 19, 2016 1:28 PM

    jag1959 ,
    My guess all along is that she doesn’t have enough money to. The other family members want market value for it, so even though she’s defnitely rich by any standard, she probably doesn’t have the liquidity to be approved by the other owners to buy it. The worst thing the league could ever have is an owner not being able to make payroll (think this time 9 years ago when the financial world crashed). Lots of rich people lost lots of money. You don’t want an owner losing most of their money and only having their valuable team left as their main asset. It’s why if the league had their druthers, they would force Mark Davis out. It’s why this guy out in Arizona, Reggie Fowler, was unable to buy the Vikings when he tried to purchase from Red McCombs.

  31. Rdog says: Sep 19, 2016 1:29 PM

    Introducing your new Titans ownership in 2018: Peyton Manning and Jon Bon Jovi

  32. docsmith54 says: Sep 19, 2016 1:39 PM

    If Bud Adams’s lawyer didn’t know the NFL rules as it applied to majority ownership and voice, he should have known. If he did, he might have a conflict of interest or, barring that, a malpractice claim to handle. Might (Adams is dead.) Come on, Mike: this was right up your alley and you missed it!

  33. doggeatdogg says: Sep 19, 2016 1:39 PM

    xavier179
    Well what is stopping the two branches from selling their parts? Seems one of them could at least sell 2% of their share to give her control of the team.
    You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives.
    —————-
    Sounds like it’s an all or nothing preposition and they don’t want her as full owner either. That they are willing to sell their shares to a third party that would make her a minority owner is a strong message right there.

  34. thetooloftools says: Sep 19, 2016 1:43 PM

    Jimmy Haslam will sell the Cleveland Browns after buying the Titans.
    This is a done deal if “The Adams Family” doesn’t demand a kings ransom turn off potential buyers.

  35. controlaltdeletedeletedelete says: Sep 19, 2016 1:53 PM

    Ha! The Toronto Titans has a nice ring to it.

    Everybody in the stadium sing it with me:

    “Whoa-ohh! Livin’ on a pray-er!”

  36. fordbw says: Sep 19, 2016 1:53 PM

    So, the franchise is sinking into the abyss while Bud Adam’s next of kin duke it out?

  37. lonespeed says: Sep 19, 2016 1:57 PM

    In many ways, this is a good thing. The less control the owners have the less meddling they can do with the team.

    Granted, Mike Mularkey isn’t the greatest coach, but in a league where bright and shiny objects are always the next thing, the teams that are hands-off and keep the same coaching regime tend to do far better.

    It’s like congress. The move things congress cannot do, the better.

  38. titansfan12 says: Sep 19, 2016 2:00 PM

    Can Peyton Manning buy it? Eddie George has been rumored to wanting it but would he have the money? Can we just have an owner that gives a d*mn. Thanks.

  39. stlouisfan says: Sep 19, 2016 2:35 PM

    STL would love to have a team but there is a big problem with that. There would have to be a local owner and they would have to build a stadium. That has always been a problem in STL. After what has happened with the NFL and the Rams , I don’t think people will vote yes for any public money. Shame they cant work this out in Nashville. Great city and they have some exciting young players. Owning an NFL team is like having a money tree in the back yard. You could almost do nothing and still make a ton of money. It all depends what the NFL wants. If they want a team in Nashville , it will stay. I know this , until the second team is in LA , the NFL will use that as a bargaining chip for all the teams wanting a new stadium or wanting something done .

  40. yyyass says: Sep 19, 2016 2:50 PM

    The obvious city to move the Titans to is a city with a newer stadium, existing training facilities, and in need of an NFL team.

    Hello Cleveland.

  41. tncheese says: Sep 19, 2016 3:08 PM

    Just get Amy Strunk to buy the unmentioned 1%.

  42. jgedgar70 says: Sep 19, 2016 3:22 PM

    harrisonhits2 says:
    Sep 19, 2016 12:50 PM

    The league should not allow teams to be “bequeathed” to the owner’s children.
    _____
    To have a law or rule that orders a man what to do with his personal property is NEVER the right answer.

  43. jimbo75025 says: Sep 19, 2016 3:34 PM

    titansfan12 says:
    Sep 19, 2016 2:00 PM
    Can Peyton Manning buy it? Eddie George has been rumored to wanting it but would he have the money? Can we just have an owner that gives a d*mn. Thanks.
    ——

    No way Eddie George has the money. I doubt even PM has it? Maybe he does if he leveraged everything.

    Face it, even the Titans are gonna sell for a billion $ plus.

    Bon Jovi? Yeah right. Didn’t he and his group try to buy the Bills? I seem to remember the group having to remove him from the buyers listing during the bid because he did not have enough $$ to allow them to increase the overall bid at the percentage he wanted for putting his name on it. In other words, JBG is “only” worth about $300 million so in theory I guess you would need $500 million of your own money to be a serious consideration no matter who you paired with. I know PM is rich by any measurement, but does he have $500 million?

  44. 23rdusernameused says: Sep 19, 2016 4:02 PM

    must suck bad huh guys?!?!?!?
    having a NFL TEAM GIVEN TO YOU!?!??!!??!
    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, my life is so terrible!!
    I’ll shed a tear or 3 for you! SMDH!

  45. titan983 says: Sep 20, 2016 6:57 AM

    Bon Jovi a reality?

  46. savethebs says: Sep 20, 2016 11:17 AM

    absolutevisuals says:
    Sep 19, 2016 1:26 PM

    Their last consistent winning seasons was with Vince Young so that wasn’t the problem.

    ————————

    1, the number of winning seasons with Vince Young as starting QB.

    2006 8-8
    2007 10-6
    2008 13-3 Kerry Collins started that season.
    2009 8-8
    2010 6-10

    VY Career stats 57.9% 179 yds 0.9 TDSs 1.0 INTs

    He wasn’t the only problem but he was A PROBLEM

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